10 Hidden Symptoms of Substance Addiction

Substance abuse doesn’t always announce itself with a staggering gait or red eyes. Here are some often-missed clues that someone could be struggling with an addiction.

1. Lying and promise-breaking. These include the oft-made (and bro- ken) promise to “never do it again,” whatever “it” is.

2. Recurring financial difficulties. Repeated money crises, a lot of bor- rowing and a general sense that the person is “digging a hole.”

3. Belligerence and intimidation. Mean-spiritedness, intense sarcasm and/or regular belittling; a feeling of having to “walk on eggshells” around the person.

4. Minimizing. The common refrain is, “I can stop anytime I want.”

5. Lack of self-responsibility. Habitually blaming others for their negative circumstances.

6. Sense of entitlement. Either an attitude of, “The rules don’t apply to me,” or justifying illegal or immoral actions because “I deserve it.”

7. Mood swings. May originate elsewhere, but often stems directly from the contrast of being under the influence (happy, calm, outgoing) or not (irritable, angry, withdrawn).

8. Oblivious to negative effects. People who abuse alcohol or drugs do not seem to “get” how bad things are.

9. Surrounded by enablers. People around them will cover up, make excuses for, or “rescue” them.

10. Thriving on turmoil. While there may be lots of trauma and drama, there is little to show for all the “excitement.” 

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